Ian Galloway
 Served 1965  to 1986
Replaced Hutt as Director of Parks and Recreation.

Most of his work involved maintaining the existing plantings and buildings but visitor and staff facilities were also improved. The waterfall was built, and the herb and succulent gardens established. It was during this period that the Wahine storm struck, which destroyed a large number of the mature trees and precipitated a widespread replanting.

The highly successful  ‘Summer City’ festival at the Dell and Anderson Park was established in 1979, bringing increased public use of the Garden.

In 1983 an Interpretative Centre was established in the Winding House that had previously housed the engine for the cable car. This centre contained botanical, horticultural and historical displays and information relating to the Botanic Garden. The Centre was closed in 1987.

The Herb Garden

Herb Garden view
Lorna Rowland

The Herb Garden was constructed during the 1970s, and was a project supported by the Wellington Herb Society and its President at that time, Lorna Rowland.  Like the Garden of Remembrance it suffered from designs that were too expensive, and it could well have been shelved forever.  The credit that it was realised at all must in part go to the Head Gardener of the time, Donal Dutlne, who was also a member of the Herb Society's Executive Committee.  Ian Galloway, the Director, was prepared to support a workable alternative proposal, and promised Donal that he would be provided with a brickie if he could get the bricks.  Luckily the site of the Anglican Chinese Centre across the road from the Garden was about to be cleared for building.  The contractor was approached, and permission was obtained to demolish the chimneys in the houses and take the bricks.  Conveniently the weather was too wet for outside work, so almost all of the staff were organised for the demolition.  Work began on a Thursday, and enthusiasm for the project was such that nearly everyone continued the job in their own time over the weekend.  On Monday Galloway was presented with 40,000 bricks and the building of the Herb Garden proceeded.  The laying of the bricks was one of the last jobs done by brickie Ted Ransom, a colourful Londoner who joined the Department in 1961.  He was also responsible for the brickwork pillars of the Rose Garden pergola and the brick walls of the zig zag up to the Herb Garden.  The sundial and lion's head fountain in the Herb Garden were presented by the Herb Society, and in 1985 they contributed $5,000 towards additions to the Garden,  the first stage of which has been completed

From the Herb Garden the geometry of the Rose Garden and Begonia House can be fully appreciated . They stand, with their surroundings, as the most significant contribution made to the Botanic Garden during the directorship of Edward Hutt.  He conceived and probably designed the Rose Garden, and was certainly the mind behind the conception, if not the realisation of the structure of the Begoma House.  He was a forceful character, and this formal complex expresses vividly his personality and approach to garden design

Waterfall, pond, brick shelter

Peace Flame and waterfall

In 1971, through the generosity of their daughters, Mrs Eilleen George and Mrs Edna Swanson and their son,  Sir Walter Norwood, the waterfall, pond, brick shelter and wall, and path access from the weather office were all built. This gift also made possible the construction of a sloping bank to the south of the waterfall, covering an unsightly cliff where the hill had been cut away. The construction of this garden was directed by Richard Nanson, and the big rocks were placed by Bob Stevens and his gang who were the Department's strong right arm during the 1950's, 60's and early 70's when it came to heavy work of this kind.

A second Cedrus atlantica 'glauca' was planted to the south of the brick shelter. This was moved from the Main Garden where it had been planted in the mid 1950's in a position opposite the Summer House. To the north of the waterfall, beds of shrubs were planted on either side of the approaches to the path from the weather office. They also screened another cut bank and linked up with a protea collection established after 1968, which occupied the lower slopes of the lawn below the tennis pavilion. This garden provides the banks on the eastern side of the Rose Garden with a rich texture of plants. The informal surroundings of the waterfall are linked to the formal geometry of the Rose Garden by a straight line formed by the brick wall and shelter running through them.

In 1977 the Norwood family replaced the fountain presented by their mother in 1956. The new one was brought from Australia. It is a fine, elegant Victorian artifact of a rather lavish Roman design cast in metal and providing a rich focal point even on windy days when the water has to be turned off.

Interpretative Center 1983 - 1987

The former Winding shed for the Cable Car was adapted to a short lived Botanic Garden Interpretative Centre. which was opened in 1983 but closed in 1987. This centre contained botanical, horticultural and historical displays and information relating to the Botanic Garden.   

Cable Car winding shed 1901
The site of the later Interpretative Center 1983 - 1987

 A large resource has been created, and a "hands on" attitude is needed by the Department towards the public of Wellington to make them ware of what they have.  For this to be effective an officer responsible for planning and effecting Departmental recreational and resource promotion could well be appointed.  Within such a scheme the Interpretive Centre would serve as a major disseminating point for this wider Departmental promotion as well as developing and presenting the resources of the Botanic Garden.

The foundation of an Interpretive Centre in the Garden was seen as
the most profoundly important event influencing its future development.  Through such a facility the Department can promote and sell its resources to the community, providing it with the horticultural information that it wants and balancing the sometimes ill-informed demands of mass opinion with the informed professional direction that has become part of its function.  Using the Interpretive Centre the integrity of the Botanic Garden can be made explicit and justified.  Its very real horticultural and historical riches can be made accessible and promoted.  Taken collectively these many uses of an Interpretive Centre finally allow the Botanic Garden to become what James Hector hoped it would be when he laid out his Teaching Garden in the 1880's.  It could become 'botanic' in a broad popular sense supported by the community at large . Providing teaching for the needs of the era could help to put richness and pattern into our lives so that as we slow down because of decreasing affluence, we might re-discover the multi-faceted nature and function of a garden.

Although it would be ideal to have a botanist located at the Interpretive Centre, this is unlikely to happen.  Instead a more achievable possibility would be the installation of an education officer to develop programmes especially for children and students.  Such a person, supplied and financed by the Education Department has been effectively used by the Hamilton Parks Department in recent years.  (An interesting comment with regard to the current proposal of  a children's garden.)


Finally, the formation of a body like a 'friends' group would be another way in which the Garden could be linked to the community.  This would restore something of the character of the relationship that once existed between the Garden and the old Beautifying Society in the 1930's.   Such a group already exists in relation to the Bolton Street Memorial Park, and without their action much of the character and content of that reserve would have vanished due to the post motorway indifference of the Government.   Today they are putting up a good fight for the return of land pilfered (legally of course) by Government Departments, and preventing the insensitive encroachment of high rise developments and parking facilities at the northern end of the Cemetery.   Such community support for the Garden could only advance our awareness of it and help protect it from the more shark-like aspects of our brave new cost effective world

Completing the horticultural development
Ian Galloway always had a personal interest in the Botanic Garden In part this is because he lived there, but also stemmed from his experience as a gardener, and because until the late 1970's part of his job as Director was to make decisions concerning the Garden with the foreman or supervisor on the spot.  The most important developments during Galloway's period in office was the work of completing the horticultural development of unfinished parts of the Garden, and in some cases, elaborating and enriching them.  The present finish of areas such as the Rose Garden and its surroundings, and the Observatoiy Reserve is the result of twenty-five years of effort, and the completion of processes that began decades ago in the last years of the 19th and the first years of this century.


In 1965 the Department was relatively small and still directed by its committees in a manner not far removed from the  days of G F Glen.  Since then, because of the growth of the Department and the diversity of its function, there has been the need to develop a professional infrastructure to which can be delegated many aspects of the work once supervised by the Director.  The social changes already referred to have not only affected the importance of the role of the Parks Department, but have also changed the make-up of the Council committees who employ it.  Both the community at large and the Parks and Recreation Committees look to the Department as the body having the expertise to advise and direct them.  Ian Galloway's career as Director involved the periodical reorganisation and development of the Department to meet these changes in function.  In 1967, on the corner of Victoria and Mercer Streets, he personally directed the building of the first of those small gardens associated with him, that are now scattered throughout the city.  Today the particular shape of new gardens, ornamental installations, or other plantings are carried out by a landscape architect or specialist in tree planting acting on general instructions in which they have participated, and working with supervisors and other staff on the spot The Director's role is now almost completely involved with administration and those other relationships and political activities through which the Department extends its relevance and makes its resources available to the community.   Ian Galloway had become adroit in offering the Department's services to other bodies interested in contributing to Wellington's urban wellbeing by providing park and recreation facilities.

Wahine storm

Looking down on Horseshoe Bend planting
The 10 April 1968 storm which  resulted in the wreck of the internisland ferry the Wahine also caused significant damage to the garden, with the loss of many older trees.  This event did, however, cause the recognition that chain saws could involve the removal of overgrown and decepit  plant material to the benefit of the garden overall.  The reconstruction that occurred as a result of this storm meant that a lot of new plants were introduced into the garden, but large scale theft of this material became a significant problem.  The bulk of the plants favoured were choice dwarf confiers and dwarf rhododendrons.  This  ongoing  problem saw some hundrreds of these plants being lost over a 10 year period. 

The storm  blew down old macrocarpas at the top of the valley below Horseshoe Bend to the south of the Play Area.  The resulting clearance was replanted with flowering and deciduous ornmmental trees, to make it today one of the most restful of all garden locations.

I have not been able to find any photographs of the storm damage in the garden.  I could find nothing on the internet, and even the City Archives appear to have none. Surprising.   

Ray Mole, from the Otari Garden,  was appointed curator responsible  for the clearance and redeveloment of the damaged areas.

Summer City festival

Recent Summer City event  -  music in the Soundshell

Recent Summer City event  - visitors enjoying the evening light display
The highly successful  ‘Summer City’ festival at the Dell and Anderson Park was established in 1979, bringing increased public use of the Garden.    From modest beginnings, it now encompasses the highly successful Light and Sound Festival in the Main Garden.  During summer, a range of musical entertainment is provided, covering most musical tasts, attracting significant numbers of visitors.